Content of the material
- Basic Utilities
- Water and Sewer
- Natural Gas
- Trash Collection
- Internet, Cable, and Phone
- Security Systems
- Tips for saving money on your utilities
- What Is the Average Gas Bill?
- 4. If you need to transfer your utilities
- What Is the Average Cost of Apartment Utilities?
- Getting Wi-Fi Connection on the Very First Day of Moving In
- How to set up utilities
- Determine who your providers are (three to four weeks before your move)
- Contact utility companies (two weeks before your move)
- Check that utilities have been successfully turned off/on (moving day)
- Adjust Appliances for Energy Efficiency in Apartment
Not all utility services are “mandatory” to have on the very first day of your move-in. Some stuff could be taken care of later. Electricity and water are certainly not among them.
If you are not sure about the items that should make your must-have utility list, the following list of things should get you going. However, before you note them down, ascertain the utilities you would be responsible for as per your lease agreement. Landlords usually cover certain utilities, such as trash and water.
Water and Sewer
You need your water and sewer services to work at least a day before your move-in. Water and sewerage are usually part of your rent. Confirm the same with your landlord, however. When inspecting water in the house, make sure you turn the faucet on and let it run for a few minutes to check for odd smells. Note that an “eggy” smell is often normal when water hasn’t been run for a long time.
If you plan to use a gas stove for cooking, you will need natural gas. There are units with electrical heaters, but gas-powered stoves are more common. Hot water heaters, too, are usually heated with gas. To stop or start natural gas service, it usually takes a week. A transfer of service will also take at least a week. Therefore, plan accordingly.
You’ll need electricity for powering the lights, appliances, and your various gadgets and kitchen appliances. Based on a particular city or town, there will be different service providers. The energy in California is partially deregulated, which means you may choose your electricity company the way you select your service provider for cable, Internet, or mobile phone. Check with the city or your landlord to learn about firms serving your area.
Call the primary service provider in your city or region to create your trash management account. Enquire about the kind of bins to be used for recycling and trash beside the day of the week that you must set the garbage out. Some regions could collectivize the costs of water and trash. If that’s the case, you need not create an account.
Internet, Cable, and Phone
Internet, cable, and telephone are utilities that you can typically purchase as a bundle. Internet and cable usually take slightly longer for setting up since additional equipment may be needed. For Wi-Fi Internet, the utility firm will provide you a router. You’ll require a cable box for cable TV.
Start planning on the setup at least two weeks prior to moving in so that everything is set when you finally arrive. In fact, some companies may directly communicate to their subscribers the significance of early bookings for a seamless service.
Security systems could comprise security cameras, an alarm system, and also updates on air quality so that you know when there’s carbon monoxide in the air. Alarms are added security tools. They go off if someone breaks into your house – whether you are at home or away.
Most cities in California or any other state for that matter offer local services – sewer, garbage pick-up, recycling, water services, etc. Hydro and gas or electricity services are typically furnished by the state. It’s, therefore, recommended you check the official site of California state to learn more. Visit this site for more information.
Tips for saving money on your utilities
Here are a few handy tips to help you save money on your utilities when renting:
- Shop around for the best deals. Don’t just go with the first utility company you find. Take some time to compare rates and services to find the best deal.
- Use energy-efficient appliances. Appliances with Energy Star certification use less energy.
- Use energy-saving light bulbs. Replacing your traditional light bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs can also help you save on your energy costs.
- Weatherproof your home. Sealing up cracks and gaps in your home can help prevent heat from escaping, which can help lower your heating costs in the winter.
- Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them. That is an easy way to save energy and money.
- Set your thermostat wisely. During the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 degrees at night. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night in the summer.
- Take short showers. Shorter showers use less water, which can also help you save on your utility bills.
What Is the Average Gas Bill?
When it comes to gas costs, southern states see some of the lowest prices, followed by the West Coast — due to both low monthly consumption and moderate prices. The lowest averages are found in Florida with a $38 average gas bill; Arizona with $46; and Louisiana with $47. In Idaho, Nevada, California and New Mexico, the average gas bill is less than $60. And, while most people use gas for heating their homes and cooking, average amounts may differ because the provider or local administrator could include additional fixed charges or taxes on the bill.
For instance, the average gas bill for a one-bedroom apartment will be around $46 per month during the cold season if your gas-fueled appliances are highly efficient. But, remember that weather is also an important variable and low temperatures during winter will significantly increase the heating bill. Consequently, the average gas bill for a three-bedroom apartment with a high-efficiency furnace and/or water heater can reach slightly more than $61. But, if you have low- to average-efficiency appliances, expect to pay more than $70 for a three-bedroom rental.
4. If you need to transfer your utilities
Transferring of utilities applies if the provider for a particular utility won’t change between your current home and your new one. In this case, you’ll need to contact the provider and inform them that the service should be transferred to a new location. You’ll need to give details such as your new address, as well as the exact date you need utilities shut off in your old home and turned on in the new one.
- If you need to cancel your utilities
You’ll need to cancel utilities if you’re going to have to change providers. You’ll need to reach out to the utility provider you need to cancel and inform them that you need to shut down the service. They’ll ask for the address you’re shutting down the service and the exact date you need the account closed.
- If you need to set up new service
To set up utilities at your new place, check out the website of your new home. The website should have information on setting up utilities, but if not, contact them directly. They’ll need to know the address that you intend to set up utilities, as well as the date that you need service to be up and running. Most utility companies also require customers to provide payment information at this time, either through a checking account and routing number or a credit card. Some companies may also require a security depository and/or a credit check. Find out exactly what you need to provide before you start the application process so that you have everything ready to go.
Keep in mind that your landlord may require you to prove that you have arranged for your utilities to be set up. Inquire about how far in advance you will need to relay this information to contact your providers earlier if need be.
What Is the Average Cost of Apartment Utilities?
So, to see how utilities add up, consider a hypothetical tenant named Tom. Tom lives in Kansas and cranks up the air conditioning during the hot months, but runs high-efficiency heating appliances during the winter. Tom lives with three roommates, never cooks and likes to take extremely long showers. He has broadband and does not subscribe to any cable TV provider. If you’re like Tom and his roommates, you can expect to pay around $411 per month in total utilities for the apartment.
However, in addition to considering the average cost of apartment utilities, we also recommend checking with the landlord or the previous tenants to get a better idea of how much utilities cost for a specific apartment.
Check out the table below to find the average utility bills in your state:
Getting Wi-Fi Connection on the Very First Day of Moving In
Since the Internet is an integral part of everyday life, you would want your Internet connection to be up and running as soon as you move into the new place. If your current Internet service provider (ISP) offers services in the area you are shifting to, you just have to let them know in advance so that the existing connection could be severed, and a fresh connection could be installed.
That said, do not expect the costs to be the same – even with the same provider. Like availability, Internet pricing also varies between areas. Also, if you are moving to a more remote region, your existing ISP may not be offering service to that zip code. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to look for another service provider. Learn and ascertain beforehand availability and pricing issues. When the options are few and far between, the costs could be higher.
If your existing ISP offers service in the new area you’re moving to, look for disparities in the monthly costs between the regions. If there are any variations or even if the prices are identical, it pays to look for other ISP options in the region in case you are open to the idea. After all, a good Internet connection is not just about the price. If you are absolutely comfortable with your existing ISP, then you may stick with the company.
If you don’t mind switching, do look around. Your existing service provider may claim their service to be the best or the most cost-effective in the area, but do not take their word for it. Carry out area-specific research so that you can be sure of the right Internet plans in your region for the optimal price.
Besides costs, you shall consider quite a few other things too when choosing an ISP, which include:
Setup and installation fees
Data cap, and the costs of exceeding it
Contracts and premature cancellation fees
Also, find out if you could bundle your Internet along with your TV and/or phone plan. If you can, then you’ll end up saving some money on the arrangement every month. As far as Internet connection types go, your options would include fiber-optics, cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and satellite Internet. These types determine your connection speed and also how much you shell out every month on the service.
How to set up utilities
You will need to set up each utility individually. It’s generally advised that you start the process three weeks before you move, though some utility setups offer more wiggle room than others. As a general rule though, give your utility providers as much notice as you can, especially if they need to come out and set up the service manually.
With that information in mind, here’s how to set up utilities so they’re ready to go on move-in day.
Determine who your providers are (three to four weeks before your move)
The utility providers for your new home may be different than the providers for your last home. Certain cities, neighborhoods, apartment buildings and landlord/management companies have different provider requirements. Likewise, some utility companies only service certain areas.
If you’re moving to a property that you’ve purchased, check the website for your city and/or county for information on utility providers. If you’re renting, check your lease or ask your landlord. Most of the time, you’ll have one provider option for utilities like electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, trash pickup, and multiple options for internet and cable.
Contact utility companies (two weeks before your move)
Now that you know who your providers are going to be, you can get in touch. If you already have utilities set up in your current home, you’re going to need to either transfer your existing utilities or cancel your existing utilities and set up new ones. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll just need to set up new ones.
- If you need to transfer utilities: This applies if the provider for a certain utility won’t change between your current home and your new home. If this is the case, you’ll have to contact the provider and let them know that service should be transferred to another location. You’ll need to provide your new address, as well as the exact date you need service shut off in one home and turned on in another.
- If you need to cancel utilities: This applies if you’re going to have to change providers. Contact the provider of the utility you need to cancel and let them know you are looking to shut down the service. They’ll need to know the address where you’re shutting down service, as well as the exact date that your account should be closed.
- Setting up new service: To set up a new service, visit the website of your new provider. There should be information about how to set up utilities, but if not, call them directly. You’ll need to tell them the address that you’re looking to set up utilities, as well as the date that you need service to start.
Most utility companies will also require payment information at this time, either in the form of a credit card or a checking account and routing number. Some may also require a credit check and/or a security deposit. Find out exactly what’s required of you before you go through the application process so that you have everything ready to go.
Note that, if you’re renting, your landlord may require proof that you have arranged for utilities to be set up. Find out how far in advance you will need to provide this information so that you can call your providers earlier if need be.
Check that utilities have been successfully turned off/on (moving day)
There is always the possibility of errors when you’re transferring, canceling or setting up utilities. For that reason, it’s a good idea to verify that everything went through as it was supposed to — especially since you don’t want to end up with a bill for utilities that you thought were shut off.
Checking to make sure that utilities in your new home were turned on is easy enough. Make sure that you can flip on a light, turn on the stove, flush the toilet, and connect to the internet. For trash pickup, you’ll have to wait to verify until collection day, but you should know if you’re properly set up before the end of the week. If any utilities are not turned on that are supposed to be, call the provider right away. If the issue is due to a mistake on their end, they can usually expedite service and get a utility set up right away for you.
For utilities that you canceled, double-check your account information to ensure that the shut-off happened on the date it was scheduled to. If you’re not seeing that information online, call the company to verify (and be sure to get the name of the person you speak to — just in case).
Adjust Appliances for Energy Efficiency in Apartment
You may not have a choice in the type of appliances at your disposal.
Even if your appliances are from the pre-energy efficiency heyday of Friends, you can make adjustments in order to increase their efficiency and decrease the money leaking out of your bank account.
- Increase the Temperature of Your Freezer + Refrigerator: Turn your freezer/refrigerator up a few degrees (just be sure that your refrigerator temperature is still optimal for slowing bacteria growth).
- Turn Your Water Heater Down: Play with the temperature setting on your water heater by turning it down a few degrees until you find the point at which it is no longer hot enough for you.
- Get Your A/C Filter Checked: Ask your landlord to check the filter on your heating/cooling system to make sure that it is being properly maintained. If you have a window A/C unit, you can typically find and clean the filter yourself.
- Turn Your Ice Machine Off: If you have more than enough ice in your ice box, make sure to turn the ice machine off. Periodically you will run out of ice, in which case you can turn it back on until it fills up again.
- Convert Your Toilet to Low-Flush: Okay…this one saves on your water bill, and not electricity bill. But every little bit helps! If you have an older toilet that uses a bowl full of water, try converting it to a low-flush toilet for free.